"Uncle"? Ouch… it hurts!

Posted: February 19, 2007 in brother, relationship, uncle

On the Sunday, we had some new players at the squash court. Couple of young chaps, around 22-23 years of age. I played a couple of games with one of them. It was a mismatch in terms of age.. and hence, the ability to cover the court, etc. He was a much better player, in that respect.

And yet, using some guile and smart play, I managed to not make it so easy for him, and almost gave him a run for his money. Found it very satisfying, personally.

Till we came out of the court, and out of some respect, he asked me, “Uncle, how long have you been playing squash?”.

“Uncle”!! Ouch, that hurt..
Yet, I made the conversation, without making him feel that he had made a huge faux pas.

I have a lot of cousins who are all younger to me, and even younger than this guy was. But since all of them are cousins, they refer me as brother, or ‘bhai’ in Gujarati. So I am not accustomed to have _that_ age group (early 20s) address me as ‘uncle’. Yes, my kids’ friends call me uncle, and I find that perfectly acceptable. But this chap in his 20s?!

Having said that, and looking back at the situation, I realised that he was not out of place at all. I must be at least 20 years older than him. And he would call me, uncle, what else?!

The other thing about this is that in English language, we either have friends, or we have uncles and aunts! I have never heard anyone address another person as a ‘brother’. In Hindi or other Indian languages, we do have ‘bhai’. But if you are speaking in English, you do not hear anyone addressing another as ‘Hello, brother’.

So THAT was the problem. I should relax now…

  1. USC Trojan says:

    And that’s why in the US where everyone calls everyone by the first name, it makes it totally ridiculous on the opposite end of the spectrum!

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